Studying How ‘Star Wars’ Mined History

Historians in the News

The events in “Star Wars,” the opening credits reveal, happened “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” But did similar events happen before?

That is the question posed by “Star Wars and History,” a book planned for 2013 by the publisher John Wiley & Sons. In an e-mail posted in June, Nancy Reagin, a history professor at Pace University, and Janice Liedl, an associate professor of history at Laurentian University in Ontario, asked their peers to submit essays that explore the parallels between world history and Star Wars history.

For example, their note to the historians of slavery sought essays “where historical examples of slavery are detailed to inform an exploration of how slavery was depicted in Star Wars (e.g., the persistence of slavery on Tatooine) and how these parallels provide historical models for the Star Wars universe.”...

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